Information sessions are often the best way to engage with companies on a personal level and get a good understanding of the culture of the company. An info session is a night devoted entirely to the company where they present on their background, the type of work they do, and what you can expect to do if you were to work there. To help you make the most of this event, here are a few quick tips.
Dress appropriately (business casual)
Showing up to event dressed in your workout clothes or a tank top and sandals will show you didn’t think ahead or devote enough time to preparing for this event. Make sure your attire is business casual if you want to be taken seriously.
This is your opportunity to sell yourself. Often, the second half of the info session is devoted purely to networking. Take advantage of this. Do your research on the company, the presenter if they’re advertised, and most importantly how your coursework/work experience is relevant to the company. If they are looking to fill a position, you want to ensure them that you are the ideal candidate. Bring a few copies of your resume and hand it to the company representatives. Some companies won’t accept resumes at the event, but on the off-chance that they do you want have it ready.
Stay for the whole presentation
If you choose to come to the event, make sure you have enough time to stay for the entire two hours. Most info sessions don’t last the full time, but make sure you are prepared to stay if it does. Bring a notepad and take notes during the presentation. If you apply for a position and are selected for an interview with the company, these notes will come in handy while interviewing.
Don’t just stand there. Have something to say
One of the worst things you can do is just creep up to a group of people without saying something. It creates an uncomfortable environment and is counterproductive. Instead, if you see a group of people crowded around a recruiter you want to talk to, wait for a lull in the conversation and the assertively but politely work your way to the front of the group and introduce yourself. After that, make sure you have something else to say that demonstrates why you are a good candidate for the company. And if you see a classmate or friend hovering on the outside of the group, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership abilities by introducing him or her. After introductions are done, jump back into the conversation.
Sample networking questions
If you’re unsure of what to say to the recruiters, here are a few sample questions you can use:
• Why did you join [company name]?
• What differentiates [company name] from its competitors?
• What is the culture like at [company name]?
• Have you experienced any difficulties while working at [company name] - and how did you overcome them?
If you have any questions, contact Ashley Antoon at antoon [at] engineering [dot] ucsb [dot] edu or 805-893-5676.